07/19/2021: Next Phase: Why Law Firms Need to Build Calls to Action
Lawyers have always been good at networking because they know what they do like the back of their hands, and they’re good at talking about it. Other marketing avenues, including online marketing, well . . . not so much. Law firms often drop advertising without a clear call to action.
Don’t know what a call to action is? Here’s the only thing you need to know: if you look at a piece of marketing, and you can’t discern what to do next, then you’ve failed as a marketer, because there is no ‘call to action’, no invitation to take the next step.
You can write Don Draper-level ad copy; but, if your potential law firms clients don’t know what to do next, you’ve already lost them. This is especially true of web-based marketing, where it’s not enough to just throw up a phone number. Instead, you need to create a click-to-call link, or you need to move the potential client into whatever lead funnel you’ve established.
If you’re not sure whether you’ve placed an effective call to action, ask a nonlawyer, who is unfamiliar with your business, to review your ad, and see if she understands, intuitively, how you want consumers to interact with it. If there is a moment of hesitation, that’s all it takes for a modern law firm consumer to move on. You’ve then got to be more direct, and obvious.
Because, if you can’t bait the hook, you won’t be afforded the opportunity to pull up the line.
07/12/2021: High Hurdles: How Law Firms Alienate Potential Clients
Remember that scene from the ‘Wizard of Oz’, where the guard at the gates of the Emerald City is very reticent to let Dorothy and her friends in, until he realizes who they are, and changes his tune? Well, consider yourself the green-mustachioed guard, and your law firm clients Dorothy Gale. The only problem is, by the time you figure out who’s at your gates, and when you’re ready to help them, they’re already long gone.
The point is that most law firms unconsciously set up barriers between themselves and their clients. Lawyers don’t like to pick up the phone, and talk to existing clients, let alone potential clients, thereby driving a wedge between them and their business. Clunky contact forms at law firm websites don’t always work. Well, that’s another barrier. Believe it or not, voicemail is a barrier. Anything that stands between you and engagement with a potential client is a barrier. And, more than anything else, the modern practice of law is about breaking down barriers between you and your clients.
This is not to say that engagement always needs to be personal. In many cases, engagement can be automated by building out responses to potential clients. A contact form can be replaced by a chatbot. A virtual receptionist can stand in place of an attorney. But, the key is that the lead inquiry receives a reply, that there is some kind of return, rather than the more common situation, where a response is dropped into a vacuum, and the reply is too late in coming.
When you can effectively create engagement points for law firm intake, you’ll close more clients, and make more money.07/06/2021: Room at the Top: How to Stay Top of Mind
Marketing is often more subtle than people think. It’s usually more about creating and maintaining subtle methods for extending brand awareness than anything else. If you can stay ‘top of mind’, by figuring out ways to regularly disseminate information to potentially interested parties, then it becomes more likely that potential clients will find you, and existing clients and referral sources will send new clients your way. Most businesspeople, including most lawyers, already know that this is kind of a subliminal game; the challenge is putting yourself in a position to be recognized as an appropriate solution when a potential law firm client or referral source is seeking a legal service provider to use or recommend.
Here are three ways, then, to stay top of mind:
Publish an eNewsletter. If you produce any kind of content for your law firm, this is a great place to highlight it. Being top of mind is more about getting your brand in front of people, than it is about them actually getting those people to do a deep dive into your resources; and, an enewsletter is perfect for that. Your brand can flash across the eyes of a potential client or referral source, while you’re simultaneously offering the opportunity to access some of your best content -- just in case the desire is there to review it. By collecting emails aggressively, and creating email lists dedicated to specific contact categories (e.g. – existing clients, referral sources, colleagues), you maximize your chances to acquiring new business.
Build a Bigger Social Media Profile. With the prevalence of mobile devices, more consumers are bypassing traditional search tools (like Google), and looking for information directly through apps. Couple that with the fact that more and more potential law firm clients are doing their own searches for legal service providers, rather than asking for personal recommendations, and it’s clear that your alternate client acquisition channels cannot be ignored or neglected any longer. And, social media is a legitimate acquisition channel for law firms, in this environment. The idea is to extend your reach across multiple channels; and, if the appropriate notion is to fish where the fish are . . . well, there are a bunch of people on social media, right?
Throw a Party. I know, law firms + parties? Not the first thing you think of. But, as the country begins to reopen, if you want to get people out to meet you, on your own terms, put on a bash, open a bar, create a fun contest and a giveaway, and let the good times roll. If you want to make more of your personal networking efforts, in a way in which you can feel comfortable, plan your own event, the way you want, and let the people come to you. And, if you can’t think of a reason to celebrate, you’re probably just not being creative enough: Revise your website? Plan a soiree. Win a big case? Throw a fete. Hire a new associate? Party like it’s 1999.
Be memorable, and stay memorable.